Jake Kershaw is the 17 year old guitar slinging, blues/rock singing teenager out of Southern Michigan everyone is talking about. You can find Jake performing just about anywhere from Muskegon to the Ohio-Indiana State line and all points in between. 2017 was a very busy year with festivals, benefits, and private shows in Marshall, Battle Creek, Grand Haven, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Eaton Rapids, Saline, Quincy, St Louis, Hudsonville, Rockford, Fruitport, and Comstock Park to name a few.
When not on stage or preparing for a show, Jake is a junior at Marshall High School. Jake holds down a 4.0 GPA which includes honors classes and was inducted into the National Honor Society this past spring. He also performs with the high school marching band and the symphonic band playing the euphonium (which he has played for the past 6 years). Jake performs for many charitable events to help those less fortunate with health issues or just down on their luck. He also volunteers his time every summer to help out with vacation bible school at Marshall United Methodist Church in Marshall, MI.
Jake began playing acoustic guitar at around age 9. This first run at the guitar was not very successful as Jake was not a big fan of the acoustic guitar. However, when Jake was 11, he received a Fender Starcaster combo kit for Easter and everything changed.
Jake immediately bonded with the electric guitar and was rarely witnessed without it in his hands. Something ignited a fire deep within his soul. He could be found either in his room working out new sounds through his amp or unplugged on the couch just picking away watching TV. This continues to this day. There is never a day that Jake is not working out some tune.
Jake began learning 80’s rock music from tablature books right away. Much like most kids learning guitar, Eddie Van Halen and Angus Young were on the top of his hero list. Within a few weeks he was playing the main riffs from most every tune they had made famous.
Jake continued to play rock and roll music until he was introduced to his first Stevie Ray Vaughan CD in the summer of 2013. This was a real turning point for Jake. He quickly found that the blues didn’t require him to play every song note for note. He could put his own touch on every song expressing his own feelings. And even then, he wasn’t required to play each song the same every time. He found this new freedom opened up a plethora of musicians, sounds and feelings he could convey via the guitar.
It wasn’t long and Jake had mastered most every song on the CD. Then, more and more blues artists were found. Thanks to our local music store which has the largest inventory of tablature we’ve since ever seen,” DICKERSON’S”, Jake now had multiple tab books. This was the launching pad to Jake’s guitar skillset. By fall, Jake was playing like he had been born with the guitar in his hands.
In January of 2014 Jake made his public debut. Without ever playing with another musician before, he found his way to the main stage at a Chili Cook Off/ Blues Jam with approximately 600 people in attendance. Jake joined the stage with a bassist and drummer for the first time and whipped out a barn burning version of “Empty Arms”, where he even sang. It was such an emotional event for all that tears were flowing from both joy and disbelief. This single event is responsible for Jake’s continued love of music and joy of performing.
Jake was immediately bombarded with musicians wanting to join forces and begin a band. A few months later a band, did indeed form, and he was beginning the journey.
Jake began performing with other musicians at a local monthly blues jam at the Bohm Theater in Albion. The players there were extraordinarily kind to Jake and he developed many of his group playing skills when performing with others right there on stage. Jake continues to perform at these events to this day.
In September of 2015 Jake found himself on an even bigger stage but this time with an International star named Jonny Lang. During a meet and greet with Jonny before a concert, Jake was surprised with an invitation to perform on stage that night from Jonny himself. This was another barn burner as Jake was still 14 at the time. This event, due to Jonny’s genuine kindness, has continued to be a huge inspiration for Jake.
Jake has since performed with several National touring acts such as Anthony Gomes, Albert Cummings, Larry McCray, and Walter Trout. He has also had the honor of opening for Marcus King, Tab Benoit and Tommy Castro and the Painkillers. Jake continues to book repeat work with Larry as he is a Michigan native. Jake continues to network with these acts and has built friendships with them all. It is not uncommon for Jake to either receive a call or private message from these talented individuals.
Early spring of 2017 Jake was honored with his first endorsement, a Young Artist endorsement with Heritage Guitars in Kalamazoo Michigan, which is the very factory where all of the infamous Gibson Guitars came from in the 50’s and 60’s. Jake worked side by side with the Heritage Luthiers to build his first custom Heritage guitar which he received this past summer in July. Jake also released his first CD titled “Piece of My Mind” in Grand Rapids at the WLAV Summertime Blues on the Mall. Over 3000 people came for his performance.
Jake is projecting 2018 to be an incredible year as several performance requests for winter, early spring, and summer are already on the books. Jake Kershaw performs as a power trio and leaves the audiences asking for more. This is a high energy group that plays their own original blues rock as well as their versions of classic blues with a rock edge.
Jake Kershaw is on fire getting National recognition from both booking agents and professional musicians. The phone is ringing and dates are filling for 2018. Let Jake “BRING THE PARTY” to your event.